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Corpse flower blooms in California

After a couple of false starts, the corpse flower at the University of California, Santa Cruz has delivered what many were waiting for, on Aug. 2.

It fully bloomed with the overwhelming stinkiness that it got its name from. The Central Coast does not have a tropical climate, the corpse flower is a tropical rainforest plant so, it waited until things heated up before it decided to bloom.

The 'corpse flowers' social media followers learned the plant was ready to bloom last Friday, then there was a delay until Saturday, then not at all, but everything changed Monday night and word spread. "This morning, they sent out another post that said it bloomed after all and so we made sure to get here today to see this. It's beautiful," said Shelly Zuby of Boulder Creek.

Hundreds turned up at the U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum Tuesday morning to catch a glimpse of the reddish-purple flower with its notorious rotten flesh stink, which is how the plant got its name.

"Everyone's been talking about it. I've probably been up here 12, 13 times. I have a degree in botany when I was in college at Humboldt State, like a lot of us just interested," said Doug Neilsen of Soquel.

So, what happened? Why did the corpse flower lead us on? It was kept in the warmth of a greenhouse for 10 years. When it was set up for public viewing outdoors, it was acclimated for the chilly central coast evenings, so the progression shut down the 35-pound bulb, but mother nature turned up the heat.

"We had the muggy day yesterday, everybody was complaining about the humidity but the flower was soaking it up. The temperature was up to 80 degrees and I gave it five gallons of water and a bigger heater," said Martin Quigley, Arboretum 7 Botanic Garden executive director.

Parents used this as a lesson in botany for homeschoolers. "It's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The smell is obviously interesting for the kids and a little bit different and it's just beautiful," said Jeanette Marsh of Watsonville.

Find out more about the rare flower blooming here.

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